Rare has a very special place in BOTM's history - it is the first place that the group officially visited back in 2005 upon formation. Unfortunately, the group did not find the burger to live up to its lofty reputation. But, that was five years ago, and fortunately I had reason to return.
Thanks to Rev at BurgerConquest.com, I was lucky enough to join him and Marc from BaconJew.com for a burger tasting hosted by Rare Bar & Grill put together Kylene at KB Networks. I really did not know what to expect, but was excited to return to Rare to give it another shot after so many years. After all, how can this place always be packed if the burger is only so-so?
We arrived at the restaurant and were escorted to a small back room. We were greeted by Kylene, and shown to a table. Our waiter presented us with what we believed to be a menu. The "menu" contained one appetizer, a French Fry Sampler, three burgers and two desserts. As I sat there trying to figure out which of the three great sounding burgers I would order, I was shocked to learn that each of us would be eating ALL of them.
The meal started off with Lollipop Wings with a warm Roquefort Fondue. These wings were unreal! I am a wing lover, but these wings made me want to start a Wing of the Month Club (how long do you think it will be for such a club to pop-up now?). They were easy to eat, unbelievable flavor, and a perfect start to this meal.
We were then presented with the French Fry Sampler which contained three types of fries: cottage, shoestring and sweet potato. The fries came with 4 dipping sauces: roasted garlic, chipotle aioli, Mexican ketchup, and honey maple dipping sauce. This provided a great combination of fries and dips, each better than the next. If I had any hesitation, it was with the honey maple - just felt more like french toast than fries, but certainly not bad, just different.
Then came the burgers. The first was the M&M Burger - their classic flambeed in Makers Mark, topped with caramelized shallots, Cheddar cheese and apple smoked bacon. The Makers Mark added a great flavor to the meat, and the cheese and bacon topped the burger off perfectly. Rev commented that the burger was so good, it did not need the bacon, which should tell you something about how good the burger was (he and I LOVE bacon). The meat was cooked perfectly, very juicy, bursting with flavor. I immediately decided that they could not top this burger. I was wrong.
Next came the T-Bone Steakhouse Burger which was a blend of sirloin and strip steak, flambeed in tequila, wrapped in apple smoked bacon, topped with crispy onions and cheddar. The tallest burger you have ever seen. The onion rings were huge, but did not overpower the burger at all. Also, despite its size, the burger was surprisingly manageable. Did not really taste the tequila influence, but the burger was no worse for it. A visual and mouth watering treat.
Incredibly, however, Rare had saved the best for last. The Fashion Burger. Six ounces of pure rib eye (my favorite), served in a truffled pastry with a dollop of relish, truffle butter and Dijon mustard. OH MY GOD! The beef was amazing, exhibiting all of the wonderful flavors you expect from rib-eye. The truffle bun was incredible, and between the bun and the butter, there was just enough grease to create a great flavor, but no so much to make the burger messy or unmanageable. This was truly burger heaven!
The meal was rounded off with Fired Oreos (WOW!) and Grilled Fruit Mojitos which were very good.
Cannot thank Rev, Rare and Kylene enough for this experience. It was unforgettable. Cannot wait to go back. If you have not been in a while, get there immediately. Don't know how I could go back with out ordering the entire menu.
Rare Bar & Grill
303 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016